Thursday, August 14, 2008

Eucharistic Beginnings

We had barely unpacked our gear and unloaded the week's groceries. I was putting a few things away in our van when a young Lakota man stopped by the Tree of Life guest house and asked for something to eat. I went in and made him a ham sandwich, grabbed an apple, and a juice box. We sat on the tailgate of the van making small talk as he downed the sandwich and the juice. He put the apple in his pocket and said he was going to give that to a friend of his that needed to eat that day too. The entire incident tore me up inside. That was last summer. It wasn't until an evening this past March, when my instructor in Pauline Studies commented that "all we do in love, all we do in the name of God, goes through the table, the eucharist", that I realized what had happened that summer day was quite literally communion.

I really dislike missing communion and this year we were leaving on communion Sunday. So, I arranged to have bread and juice and a short service that evening. Some friends from Duluth joined our group which included people from Alexandria UMC, Jeffers UMC, and St. Paul's UMC in Mendota Heights. We sang and reflected on the lectionary (Mt. 14:19) I noted that I had just read a passage from Frederick Buechner that seemed to fit into the lectionary and what we hoped to do that week. He writes, "Greed is the mathematical truism that the more you get, the more you have. The opposite of greed - the selfless love of God and neighbor - is based on the truth that the more you give away in love, the more you are." We shared the gift of bread and the cup. It is this gift that allows us to focus on our work as church and to find God's love in a world where people are hungry, homeless, and oppressed in a world where there is what seems to be only a limited amout of fish and bread on hand. I think it got the week off to a grace-filled start.


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